The Radius Project

Jesse Horwitz

A device that measures experienced population density with WiFi.


The Radius Project is a first step toward documenting and visualizing population density as expressed through digital communications devices. The Radius device listens for WiFi signals that are broadcasted by smartphones and laptop computers to create an estimate of its surrounding population density. When these data are recorded the result is a new type of population metric called “experienced density”. This experienced density metric can be used to quantify otherwise vague constructs like “crowded” or “busy” in a systematic way. While radius is active, it records experienced density along with current GPS location and time. These density data are then exported in a standard CSV format readable by most mapping, data visualization, and statistics platforms. With Radius, individual users can generate unique census-style datasets, revealing patterns within places, populations, and even their own social life.



Thesis Presentation Video